Biotechnology

“I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide them the conditions in which they can learn”.                                                              –Albert Einstein

The Department of Biotechnology strove throughout the year to provide the young minds in our department a conducive environment to maximise their understanding of Biotechnology through various activities. 

Department activities: 

  • E-Learning Course on the Basics of Coastal and Marine Biodiversity conservation and Ecosystem services

    • Using the learning management system platform, coursesites.com, a short introductory e-learning module on Coastal and Marine Biodiversity and ecosystems was conducted in collaboration with CMPA Project, Indo-German Biodiversity Program,GIZ, Germany, in May 2017.

A 10 -day module on Introduction to Coastal and Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services was conducted on coursesites platform from 9thMay,2017- 20th May 2017.  This module was introduced as a mandatory prerequisite for the Environmental Biotechnology course (MSBTS904). 29 students enrolled for the course and actively participated in the online interactions and assessments. The course content was provided by GIZ and was coordinated by Dr. Shiney Peter and Ms. Norine D’Souza.

  • Guest Lectures/ Sessions:

    • PG Department of Biotechnology and Department of Microbiology organized a talk on ‘Heal, Fuel and Feed the World with Food Science & Biotechnology” by Dr. Sangeeta Prakash, faculty member from Department of Food Technology at University of Queensland, for all PG Bioscience students of St. Xavier’s College on 27th September 2017.

    • Dr. Hrishikesh Pandit, Research Associate at NIIRH and an alumnus of the department, conducted a session on Leadership Skills and Team Work for the MSc-II students on 14th October 2017.

  • Workshops: 

    • A one-day workshop on Science communication: “Academic Editing and Popular Science: What You Need to Know” in collaboration with Cactus Communications, Mumbai was organized for all PG Biosciences students in St. Xavier’s College on 24th November 2017.

    • A one-day workshop on nuances of science editing “From Desk to Journal: A Closer Look” in collaboration with Cactus Communications, Mumbai was organized for all PG Biosciences students in St. Xavier’s College on 12 January, 2018.

    • A one-day hands on session on Bioinformatics: “Beyond the bench-Bioinformatics for beginners” was conducted for UG Biotechnology students from various colleges in Mumbai on 9 February, 2018.

 

  • Palindrome 2018

Palindrome, the annual intercollegiate festival, held by the Postgraduate Department of Biotechnology is an event ‘by the students, for the students’. The festival encompassing the theme “through a looking glass” was held on 19thand 20th of January,2018. Lupin limited, the title sponsor of the festival for the past seven years, continued its association with the department this year too. The Chief Guest of the event was Mr. Gopal Rao, Senior Manager – Global Business Development and Services Outsourcing, Biotech Division, Lupin Ltd. Students from around twenty colleges from Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane participated.

  1. Workshops

  • Workshop on Basic Bioinformatics, conducted by Ms. Norine D’Souza for UG and PG Biotechnology students from various colleges in Mumbai.

  • Workshop on Forensic science, The Forensic Factor, conducted by Ms. RivaPocha, Partner, FACTS for UG and PG Biotechnology students from various colleges in Mumbai.

  • Workshop on Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship, conducted by Mr. George Tharakan, Managing Director, Navigation Technologies India Pvt. Ltd. and Alltrac Tracking Solutions Pvt. Ltd for UG and PG Biotechnology students from various colleges in Mumbai.

               b) Events:

  • Biobiz: a competitive event based on Bio entrepreneurship 

  • Cerebrocracker: Quiz.

  • Cascade: relay event based on concepts in Biotechnology.

The students associated with Sparsh Charitable trust, an NGO working for the development of an integrated society by making a difference in the lives of underprivileged children, women and communities. Team Palindrome contributed by engaging with students from various local government schools for three weekends. They taught the students various concepts in science and guided them through the preparation of working models. On the last day, a science exhibition was organized, and the school students exhibited the models designed by them. The social cause was well appreciated by the organization as well as the teachers of the schools involved in the activity. The highlights of this activitywere also covered by one of the leading daily newspapers, “The Free Press Journal”.

 

  • Palindrome Magazine:

Palindrome Magazine is an annual publication by the Post Graduate Department of Biotechnology which serves as a platform for students to showcase their creativity and share their opinion on relevant matters in the biosciences sphere. The 7thissue of the magazine, published in November 2017, focused on attempting to give readers a fresh perspective on diverse topics including the GM crop scenario in India, CRISPR and the role of big data in biological science.  Along with the regular features on Palindrome events, social outreach programme and research activities in the department, this edition also featured an acknowledgement to the department for having completed a decade since its inception.

 

  • Industrial Visit: 

    • The Department in association with Lupin Limited, Pune organized a one-day visit to the Biotechnology division located at Ghotawade, Pune on 14th April, 2018. The students and the faculty got an opportunity to visit the Research and Development, Quality Control and Quality Assurance Departments. Students were familiarized with the research scenario at the industrial level - the research areas, techniques and equipment used. This was supplemented with a visit to the quality control department where students witnessed the stringent quality control measures practiced and the high-end facilities used to test a commercial product, hence creating a lucid outline of the work methodology. In addition, they also informed students on the kind of work currently underway in the field of biosimilars, and the future prospect areas associated with them.

 

Research Activities:

  • Grants:

UGC- Minor Research Grant: Ms. Norine D’Souza completed a two-year UGC sponsored (Rs. 2, 70,000/-) minor research project on “Role of chloride ion channels in glioma and their exploitation in therapy”

  • Poster Presentation

    • Minal Nenwani and Norine Dsouza, Interfamilial sequence based structural analysis of prions – A bioinformatics approach in understanding disease transmission, ‘Bioinnova’: National conference on food, nutrition and healthcare, Mumbai, 10th February, 2018, ISBN No- 978-93-5300-348-7 - Abstract

    • Tanvi Kaku, Nehal Dwivedi, Mehvash Godiwala, Shweta Johari, Advait Kayal, and Norine Dsouza, Enhancing the yield of PHB by use of chemical inducers, International conference on Microbial Technology for better tomorrow, Pune 17th –and18th February, 2018, ISBN No- 978-93-87665-45-3 – Abstract

    • HanzelSaldanha, Kris Silveira, PriyankaSubramani, Roma Sundar, SushmitaVarhadi, Arshad Shah and Norine Dsouza, Effect of media on biofilm formation ability by cadmium tolerant isolates, International conference on Microbial Technology for better tomorrow, Pune 17and 18 February, 2018, ISBN No- 978-93-87665-45-3 - Abstract

  • Student Research Projects:

  • In the third semester, students completed group projects (in the department) on various aspects of biotechnology guided by the faculty. Listed below are a few project topics:

  • Production of Dextran using Food Waste and its Utility in Bacteriological Media under the guidance of Dr. Biswa Prasun Chatterji.

  • Production of Dextran from beet pomace and its utility in growth of fungi and probiotics under the guidance of Dr. Biswa Prasun Chatterji.

  • Enhancing the yield of polyhydroxy butyrate (PHB) by use of chemical inducersunder the guidance of Ms. Norine Dsouza.

  • Media optimization and substrate suitability study for biofilm formation by cadmium tolerant microorganisms under the guidance of Ms. Norine Dsouza.

  • Effect of polyphenols extracted from Phaseolus vulgaris on proliferation and iron uptake: an invitroperspective under the guidance of Dr. Shiney Peter.

  • Cytotoxicity of plant extracts and their combination with chemotherapeutic drugs on human cell linesunder the guidance of Dr. Shiney Peter.

  • Prospecting in vitro models for assessing cytotoxicity of food coloursunder the guidance of Dr.Shiney Peter.

  • Cytotoxicity profiling of Musa sp. (Banana inflorescence) and Mangifera inidca (Mango kernel) extract: an in vitro studyunder the guidance of Dr. Shiney Peter.

  • Semester IV students completed external projects over four months (December – April)at IIT Mumbai, ACTREC, TIFR, BARC, CIFE, NIRRH, NIIH and DAE-CBS.

 

  • Student participation in seminars/workshops/conferences:

  • Biocamp 2017: 

  • BioCamp, Novartis Biotechnology Leadership Camp 2017,  is a pioneering event conducted by Novartis , a leading international pharmaceutical company, wherein,  50 Post graduate students/ researchers across the country will get an opportunity to interact with leading experts in the pharmaceutical and biotech fields, learn about breakthrough medicines to address patients’ unmet medical needs, understand trends and challenges in the pharmaceutical sector, receive first-hand experience about starting and running a biotech company and network with experts. The selection w based on written test and multiple rounds of interviews. Three of our students (Kris S, Priyanka S and Komal M) were selected for the 9th  edition of Novartis Biotechnology Leadership Camp (BioCamp) on the  theme ‘Future of Medicine: New frontiers for reaching and meeting patient needs’

 

  • Seminars, Conferences and Workshop:

  • An interactive session on ‘Heal, Fuel and Feed the World with Food Science and Biotechnology” by Dr Sangeeta Prakash, faculty member from Department of Food Technology at University of Queensland, on 27 September, 2017.

  • An interactive talk on "Intersection of Science and Business: How an Idea Translates from Bench to Market" by Dr. Sunny Shah, Assistant Director at the ESTEEM Graduate Program at University of Notre Dame, USA, on 21 November, 2017. 

  • Academic Editing and Popular Science Writing Workshop held at St. Xavier’s College on 24th November, 2017

  • Seminar on Introduction to basics of Flow Cytometer at IIT, Mumbai on 8 December, 2017

  • Biolutions, a seminar to stimulate awareness of the growing impact and vast developments in the Biological Sciences field, and its impact on modern day Society, held at Sophia College on 9th December, 2017

  • MSc. Semester II students participated in an intercollegiate festival conducted by Department of Biotechnology, Ruia College on 23rd December, 2017 and won the first and second prizes in Quiz.

    • Tejas S and RutujaChalke– 1st Prize

    • Ruqayya M and Vedanshi D – 2nd Prize

  • Lecture series on Regenerative Biology- From Lab to Bench side held in January 2018 at NCBS, Bangalore

  • Seminar on New Targeted therapies for cancer, autoimmune and infectious diseases at IIT Mumbai on 11th January, 2018

  • BIOWAVES 2018, a seminar organized by the Department of Life Science and Biochemistry at St. Xavier’s College on 22January, 2018.

  • Seminar on Design of functional delivery systems using nanotechnology at IIT Mumbai on 30 January, 2018

  • One Day Symposium on Stem Cells and Cancer organized by Somaiya Group at on 5February, 2018

  • Seminar on Creativity and Life in Science held at NCMR-NCCS, Pune on 8 February, 2018

  • A talk on Neuroscience– Then and Now organized at Sophia College on 10 February, 2018

  • Lecture Series on Microbial Science Outreach Initiative held at NCMR-NCCS January– March, 2018.

  • Lecture Series on Reproductive Health held at NIRRH, Mumbai January– March, 2018.

  • Workshop on Mass Spectrometry held in St. Xavier’s college in collaboration with The Indian Chemical Society and The Indian Society for Mass Spectrometry in December 2017.

  • Popular science lectures by IWSA and Caius Research Laboratory, St. Xavier’s College on Renewable Carbon Engineering: Role of Chemical and Biological Sciences by Dr. ArvindLali on 16 February, 2018.

  • Cancer Awareness Program: Facts and fiction.organized by Department of Microbiology on 28 February, 2018.

  • Career Guidance seminar organized by Department of Microbiology on 21 April, 2018

  • Faculty Activities:

  • Dr. Biswa Prasun Chatterji conducted lectures for the postgraduate students of the Department of Life Sciences and Microbiology in the field of IPR management at St. Xavier’s College.

  • Dr. Shiney Peter and Ms. Norine D’Souza were appointed as the resource team members for the project “Integrating concepts in the undergraduate Biology lab course” conducted by Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education – from September 2017 onwards.

  • Ms. Norine D’Souza was appointed member resource team under the programme “Vigyan Pratibha Resource generation camp” conducted by Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education for introduction of novel methods of teaching – learning for Kendriya Vidyalaya Teachers – August 2017 onwards.

  • Dr. Shiney Peter and Dr. Ira Vashist participated in a one-day International symposium on Cancer and Stem Cells conducted by Somaiya group on 5 February, 2018.

  • Dr. Shiney Peter and Ms. Norine D’Souza attended a three-day workshop on “Techniques in Proteomics” sponsored by LTMT and conducted by SIES college, Sion, 26 to 28 February, 2018 

  • Ms. Norine D’Souza was the resource person for the Bioinformatics workshops conducted in Palindromein January 2018 and Beyond the bench – Bioinformatics for beginners in February 2018

  • Ms. Norine D’Souza conducted lectures on bioinformatics for MSc-Semester IV students at SIES College in March– April, 2018.

  • All faculty members attended the Faculty seminar on Visioning organized by IQAC in April 2018.



  • Extension Activities:

    • Quest for Excellence Programme: The department had offered two courses under the Sciences Hub for UG students across the sciences from St. Xavier’s College. 

      • Bioinformatics Course was conducted by Ms. Norine D’Souza. 20 students across the biological sciences discipline participated and successfully completed the course.

      • Animal Cell Culture Course was conducted by Dr. Shiney Peter. 10 students across the biological sciences discipline participated and successfully completed the course.

    • All faculty members coordinated the organization of Palindrome 2018.

    • Ms. Norine D’Souza and Dr. Shiney Peter were appointed as examiners for MSc Biotechnology examinations conducted by R. Ruia College (Autonomous), Mumbai.

    • Dr. Shiney Peter was also inducted as the subject expert in Biotechnology on the Board of Studies, Department of Biotechnology, R. Ruia College (autonomous), Mumbai.

    • Ms. Norine D’Souza and Dr. Shiney Peter conducted interactive laboratory sessions on concepts in Biochemistry and Cell Biology in the department for School students from Shikshyatan, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat in February 2018.

 

  • Dr. Biswa Prasun Chatterji,our faculty member since 2012 took up a new assignment with D Y Patil University in Pune as an Associate Professor from August 2017. Dr. B.P Chatterjee was a very popular and inspiring teacher. He was also instrumental in the curriculum development since the inception of autonomy in the department. His insights and expertise have helped the department to become an excellent learning and development hub in the various aspects of Biotechnology for PG students in the city. We wish him all the success in his future endeavors.

  • Dr. Ira Vashisht, PhD in Biotechnology, was appointed as an Assistant Professor in August 2017. 

  • Dr. Karuna Gokarn, Associate Professor, Microbiology, took over as the Head of the Department from December 2017 onwards. 

 

We as a team, through our student-oriented endeavors hope to accomplish our mission to become a leading Post Graduate centre in education, research and entrepreneurship in Biotechnology, guided by sound scientific and ethical principles, and committed to the virtues of quality and relevance.

 

Dr. Karuna Gokarn

Head, Department of Biotechnology

Additional information